Can Mindfulness Help With Addiction Recovery?

In a RCT of MBRP among a heterogenous sample of individuals with various substance use disorders, increases in dispositional mindfulness facets like acceptance, awareness, and nonjudgment significantly mediated the effect of MBRP on decreasing craving following treatment [39]. Similarly, in a large cluster RCT of MORE versus CBT or TAU, increases in dispositional mindfulness significantly mediated the effect of MORE on reducing craving following treatment [40]. Finally, MORE significantly increased the mindfulness facet of nonreactivity which, in turn, predicted decreases in prescription opioid misuse [41]. Mindfulness practice may also ameliorate hedonic dysregulation and thereby reduce risk for relapse. By practicing mindfulness to savor everyday pleasant activities, an individual in recovery from a SUD can self-generate feelings of contentment, relaxation, and joy. Consider an individual with cocaine use disorder in full remission who practices mindful savoring when his grandchildren visit on the weekend.

Recent evidence found mindfulness-based interventions like meditation could reduce the consumption of alcohol, cocaine and amphetamines. Mindfulness practice may also reduce the risk of relapse, as it teaches the practitioner coping methods for discomfort such as drug cravings or the negative effects of substances. While there is promising research that mind-body treatments for addiction are effective, some of the research is contradictory. Meditation is a powerful yet simple technique with many health benefits, including reducing stress and anxiety. Due to the impactful effects of meditation, it has become more available in both substance abuse and general wellness circles as a form of therapy.

Pro-Tip for Reflection Meditation Practise

Choose an activity you like doing such as walking, tai chi, or yoga. Pay attention to all of the information your senses are receiving from the environment such as the sounds of birds, the crashing of waves, or the smell of flowers. This type of meditation is usually practiced in a peaceful, quiet setting while sitting in a comfortable position.

Focusing on the present and not escaping is very important in recovery because it teaches coping and not escaping. If you’re in professional addiction treatment, you can consult with your care team to incorporate meditation into your treatment and even learn advanced skills. Building new skills does not happen quickly, so patience while learning and practicing this new coping technique is essential.

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Your treatment team can help you to select a type of meditation that will benefit your addiction recovery. Beginning a meditation practice can be as simple as dedicating a few minutes each day to quiet reflection and deep breathing. This practice can act as a grounding technique, helping to center thoughts and emotions, particularly during moments of temptation or stress. For those seeking expert support, listening to recorded guided meditations or attending meditation classes can be incredibly beneficial. When you train in this way, you discover that it’s actually possible to be aware of what’s going on in your mind. Only if you’re aware of your thoughts and emotions can you choose whether or not to let them dictate your actions.

  • Meditation is there to help you control your thoughts and emotions and practice mindfulness.
  • In that regard, the mainstays of behavioral addictions treatment, cognitive-behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing, were developed decades ago and prior to the current understanding of addiction as informed by neuroscience.
  • However, other potential mechanisms of mindfulness as a treatment for addiction have been identified in the literature and are discussed below.

Guided meditation is a great tool to help you stay focused when your thoughts feel like they’re swirling. With the power of the mind you can control your thoughts and emotions. Read on for my top tips and advice to use guided meditation to your advantage and help you on your journey to recovery. Meditation can’t give you a miracle cure, but if you practice it with a will to succeed, then it can be a big step to the road to your recovery. From stress to other issues, meditation can help soothe your mind, and in doing so can also bring an element of calm to your inner self. People often think that their thoughts are just background noise and believe that they’re largely tuning them out.

Therapeutic mechanisms of mindfulness as a treatment for addiction

With the convergence of a pandemic and an addiction epidemic, those attempting to recover from substance use disorders (SUDS) are more vulnerable to relapse than ever before. According to the Addiction Policy Reform (APF) Survey, 1 in 3 report changes in treatment or recovery support services due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More specifically, results show that more than 34% of the 1,079 respondents reported changes or disruptions in accessing treatment or recovery support services. Fourteen percent purported that they were unable to receive their needed services, and 2% say they were unable to access naloxone services. Although mindful meditation cannot cure cancer, studies have found it helps lung cancer and breast cancer patients deal with pain, stress, low self-esteem and fatigue.

Adelante Recovery Center is here to help those that are battling drug and alcohol addiction. We are located in beautiful southern California and welcome those from across the country. Additionally, it’s vital to view meditation as a supplementary component of a broader recovery strategy, not as the sole solution. Combining meditation with other therapeutic methods, under professional guidance, meditation for addiction recovery can lead to a more comprehensive and effective approach to recovery. Adopting meditation as a personal practice offers empowerment and a sense of control in one’s recovery process, creating a nurturing environment for healing and personal growth. Meditation requires no special equipment or designated setting; it can be practiced in any quiet space, whether at home or outdoors.

With regard to implementation science, many studies to date have measured the effectiveness of brief MBIs due to their relative ease of dissemination. Yet, to be optimally efficacious, future intervention development research might consider evolving MBIs beyond a time-limited intervention approach. Despite growing pressure for expediency and increasingly brief intervention, SUDs are chronic conditions that may require prolonged interventions to produce durable change. In that regard, mindfulness might be conceptualized as an integral component of a wellness-oriented lifestyle – a catalyst for long-term recovery.

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